PROVO, Utah - With the start of spring football Monday, the BYU Touchdown Club is set to begin its third year. The Touchdown Club is a unique way for Cougar fans to celebrate BYU’s success on the field by making a donation for each touchdown the team scores this season. One hundred percent of all donations are used to provide scholarships for former BYU walk-on football players who have earned a spot on the team.
Perhaps more than any program in the nation, BYU has attracted and cultivated great walk-on players, including many who turned down scholarships from other schools to play for the Cougars. Under head coach Bronco Mendenhall, more than 30 former walk-ons have earned one of the 85 football scholarships BYU is able to offer each year, and many have become starters, team captains or even All-Americans for the Cougars.
With a minimum contribution of $1 per touchdown, participants in the BYU Touchdown Club can choose their individual level of support for each touchdown scored. Last season, with the Cougars scoring 49 touchdowns, Touchdown Club donations totaled more than $25,000--enough to fully fund the scholarships of junior deep snapper Reed Hornung and senior offensive lineman Marco Thorson. The goal of the Touchdown Club is to provide the scholarship of every former football walk-on who is not already sponsored by individual donors.
The Touchdown Club website (www.byutouchdownclub.com) automates the contribution process. On the site fans register to participate and pledges are collected on a weekly basis, billed directly to each donor’s credit card of choice following each game.
“Walk-on athletes are extremely passionate about BYU and about football,” Mendenhall said. “They have a willing heart and a great attitude and they often overcome any perceived limitations they may have in terms of speed, size or athletic ability.”
Former walk-ons on the 2012 team include wide receiver JD Falslev and deep snapper Reed Hornung. A listing of walk-ons who’ve earned scholarships since Mendenhall became BYU head coach is on the Touchdown Club website (www.byutouchdownclub.com). Other former BYU walk-ons who have had outstanding collegiate careers include NFL All-Pro Chad Lewis and All-American Dennis Pitta.
In partnership with the BYU Army ROTC, members of the Touchdown Club are invited to be on the field each game to fire the Cougar Battalion’s “George Q” Cannon when BYU gets into the end zone.
Fans who want to participate in the BYU Touchdown Club program should register at www.byutouchdownclub.com; Touchdown Club Members who donated during the 2011 season can continue their participation at the same level or change their donation amounts at any time.
Last year the Touchdown Club raised $25,731.32, which funded two full scholarships for former walk-on players on the BYU Football Team.
Donations in 2011 ranged from $1 per touchdown to as much as $20 per touchdown.
More than 220 Touchdown Club members from 24 different states and Canada participated in the program last season.
The recipient of the 2011 Touchdown Club Scholarship was junior deep snapper Reed Hornung. Hornung played in all 13 games for the Cougars and was an essential part of BYU’s special teams. The Minnesota product helped cause a fumble on a punt in the Armed Forces Bowl that led to a touchdown just before halftime in BYU’s 27-24 victory over Tulsa.
Over the past seven years BYU has scored an average of 52 touchdowns per season.